Hamas has put the blame for the rise in Israel's arrest of activists across the occupied West Bank on the visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry last week. A spokesman for the Islamic Resistance Movement, Fawzy Barhoum, said that there has been a resultant "double escalation, targeting the resistance and its supporters" by Israeli and Palestinian Authority security agencies.
The arrests, said Barhoum, are part of the process paving the way for the PA to return to negotiations with the Israeli occupation in line with Kerry's proposals. He pointed out that the people of Palestine have always paid the price of Kerry's tours in return for US financial support to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
"What is going on in the West Bank targets the will of the Palestinian people and their legitimate right to resist the Israeli occupation," he said. "It proves the existence of plots against the people under the pretext of supporting them, in line with the US plan."
Among those arrested by Israeli occupation forces was Palestinian Legislative Council member Mohamed Abu Tair, who was deported previously from his home in Jerusalem to Ramallah. A further 11 other people were arrested from various parts of the occupied West Bank.
The Hamas spokesman accused the Ramallah-based authority of launching an arrest campaign against five of its members from the occupied Palestinian territory.
A report from the Palestinian Prisoners Studies Centre, meanwhile, has revealed that in June Israeli occupation forces entered 247 West Bank villages, cities, refugee camps and neighbourhoods to carry out arrests. The Israelis detained 340 Palestinians during those sweeps; most are still in detention.